Directionally supervised cellular automaton for the initial peopling of Sahul

Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Stefani A. Crabtree, Devin A. White, Sean Ulm, Michael I. Bird, Alan N. Williams, Frédérik Saltré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Reconstructing the patterns of Homo sapiens expansion out of Africa and across the globe has been advanced using demographic and travel-cost models. However, modelled routes are ipso facto influenced by migration rates, and vice versa. We combined movement ‘superhighways’ with a demographic cellular automaton to predict one of the world's earliest peopling events — Sahul between 75000 and 50000 years ago. Novel outcomes from the superhighways-weighted model include (i) an approximate doubling of the predicted time to continental saturation (∼10,000 years) compared to that based on the directionally unsupervised model (∼5000 years), suggesting that rates of migration need to account for topographical constraints in addition to rate of saturation; (ii) a previously undetected movement corridor south through the centre of Sahul early in the expansion wave based on the scenarios assuming two dominant entry points into Sahul; and (iii) a better fit to the spatially de-biased, Signor-Lipps-corrected layer of initial arrival inferred from dated archaeological material. Our combined model infrastructure provides a data-driven means to examine how people initially moved through, settled, and abandoned different regions of the globe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107971
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Archaeology
  • Human ecology
  • Population expansion
  • Superhighways


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